Currently starring in a limited 12-week run as Hedwig, Darren Criss makes his triumphant return to Broadway, rocking the Belasco Theatre and silencing his critics. As the youngest Hedwig to date, in the lead up to his run many feared that Criss’ performance may have had something missing that was found in the previous Hedwigs. However, this could not have been further from the truth.
The mixed format of the show is the perfect vehicle for Criss with the character playing to his many strengths, providing the audience with a no holds barred concert experience while at the same time taking us on this tragic journey of self destruction/discovery that Hedwig undergoes. It is Criss’ very youthful energy and sense of wonder, especially early on in the piece that captivates the audience and, in a way, makes her tale even more heartbreaking as we see its loss. As Hedwig tells her sorry tale over the course of 90 minutes, Criss constantly smashes through the fourth wall showing his intelligence, sass, and ability to take an audience along with him wherever he chooses to go. Criss’ Hedwig commands the stage from the minute she descends to the floor and she is simply mesmerising to watch.
… Having settled into the role over the past month, Criss’ Hedwig is getting feistier, more daring, and more interactive producing an exciting, edgy performance that is both powerful to watch, yet all the more tragic. If audience participation is not your cup of tea, however, then steer clear of the first ten or so rows in the orchestra as seated there, you really are fair game for Hedwig’s antics.
From the first moment I saw Rebecca Naomi Jones’ Yitzhak on stage I knew I was going to love her. … With a big, powerful voice (when Hedwig allows Yitzhak to be heard) and enormous strength in his stillness, your eyes are constantly torn between Jones’ calm and Criss’ frenzy.
The chemistry between Criss and Jones is a joy to watch. Both love to goad and play with the other, recruiting the audience onto their side with whatever means at their disposal. Vocally, they sound amazing together, making me wish that we could get a cast album starring the pair, however much I love Neil Patrick Harris and Lena Hall in the roles.
… Extravagant, lush, and vibrant, dolled out in her finest, Criss is non-existent on stage for the majority of the piece, it is just Hedwig.